NORMALLY, I enjoy the media when they do their round up at the end of the year but, looking back, there was not much to feel happy about.

So much was either overshadowed by war in Europe, the after-effects of the Covid lockdowns or was a crisis directly caused by them.

The COVID-19 virus first emerged in China and spread like a plague across the world. It was nothing like as dangerous as a medieval plague and much of the damage we suffered was due to the lockdown rather than the disease itself. The evidence base for many of the life-changing decisions was not nearly strong enough to justify them, that fact is becoming increasingly clear.

Matt Hancock’s embarrassing behaviour on TV does not measure up to one of his biggest decisions as Health Secretary. He admitted, in his autobiography, that the only reason he imposed the wearing of face masks on English children was because Nicola Sturgeon imposed them on Scottish children. The Government, with all their scientific and medical advisors, decided against imposing masks but flipped, not because of new evidence but because of a political decision fundamentally about Scottish separatism. There were already plenty of reasons for loathing the devolution agenda of Blair and Brown but this is yet another powerful one.

Whilst those Labour leaders took Britain into two wars – Afghanistan and Iraq – by choice, Boris Johnson led Europe in his reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian PM could have fled the country but stayed to resist the Russian invasion and lead the people in fighting back.

Britain, under three successive PMs, has done the right thing in opposing tyranny and supporting the Ukrainian people. The USA, Poland and some other European countries have been resolute in supporting Ukraine but it would be wrong to think the major other countries in Europe have been as robust.

Just as with the breakup of Yugoslavia, Europe has stood aside to watch a European war on our borders and have done as little as possible to help the victims. Worse still, we already have the sense that some leaders are ready to impose the partition of Ukraine to ease their own economic problems. Appeasing Putin in the short-term is going to lead to great problems in the long-term.

Russia is using Europe’s energy dependency against them. Germany has been busy decommissioning her nuclear power stations which is making the situation even worse.

Inflation, wage cuts and a host of economic problems are due to Covid, lockdowns and war in Europe. The story of the coming year is how we deal with the problems these events created.

I am not looking forward to the 2023 Christmas round up.